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11. RUTH JIMENEZ v.

EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION COMMISSION and GOVERNMENT


SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM
FACTS:
This is a petition to review the decision of respondent Employees Compensation
Commission (ECC) dated August 20, 1981 in ECC Case No. 1587, which affirmed the
decision of respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), denying
petitioners claim for death benefits under Presidential Decree No. 626, as
amended.
*Petitioner is the widow of the late Alfredo Jimenez, who joined the government
service in June, 1969 as a constable in the Philippine Constabulary
*After rendering service for one year, he was promoted to the rank of constable
second class then on he was again promoted to the rank of sergeant
*he and his wife boarded a bus. While on their way, Sgt. Jimenez, who was seated
on the left side of the bus, fell down from the bus because of the sudden stop of the
vehicle. As a result, he was confined at the Cagayan Provincial Hospital for about
one (1) week, and thereafter, released.
*there has been series of hospital confinement. He complained of off-and-on back
pains, associated with occasional cough and also the swelling of the right forearm
and was later on diagnosed with "aortic aneurysm, medrastinal tumor".
*His condition improved somewhat after treatment and he was released. He was
advised to have complete rest and to continue medication. He was then given light
duty inside the barracks of their company.
*Unfortunately, his ailment continued and became more serious. On May 12, 1980,
he died in his house at Anulung, Cagayan, at about 9:00 oclock in the evening. He
was barely 35 years old at the time of his death.
*The cause of death, as found by the doctors, is "bronchogenic carcinoma" which is
a malignant tumor of the lungs.

*Petitioner filed a claim for death benefits under PD No. 626 with GSIS which was
denied for having no causal link on his duties. The said decision was affirmed by
respondent Employees Compensation Commission in its decision dated August 21,
1981,
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners husbands death is not compensable for the
reason that the injury/sickness that caused his death is not due to the
circumstances of the employment or in the performance of the duties and
responsibilities of said employment
HELD:

*"The English word cancer means crab, in the medical sense, it refers to a
malignant, usually fatal, tumor or growth." Findings of fact by the respondent points
out that bronchogenic carcinoma is a malignant tumor of the lungs. WE have ruled
in the case of Dator v. Employees Compensation Commission (111 SCRA 634, L57416, January 30, 1982) that" (U)ntil now, the cause of cancer is not known."
Indeed, the respondent has provided an opening through which petitioner can
pursue and did pursue the possibility that the deceaseds ailment could have been
caused by the working conditions while employed with the Philippine Constabulary.
Respondents maintain that the deceased was a smoker and the logical conclusion is
that the cause of the fatal lung cancer could only be smoking which cannot in any
way be justified as work-connected. However, medical authorities support the
conclusion that up to now, the etiology or cause of cancer of the lungs is still largely
unknown meaning that it cannot be ascertained that the lung cancer was indeed
not caused by his work.
WE cannot deny the fact that the causes of the illness of the deceased are still
unknown and may embrace such diverse origins which even the medical sciences
cannot tell with reasonable certainty. Indeed, scientists attending the World Genetic
Congress in New Delhi, India, have warned that about 25,000 chemicals used
around the world could potentially cause cancer, and Lawrence Fishbein of the U.S.
National Center for Toxilogical Research pointed out that humans were daily
exposed to literally hundreds of chemical agents via air, food, medication, both in
their industrial home and environments .
"To establish compensability under the said theory, the claimant must show proof of
work-connection. Impliedly, the degree of proof required is merely substantial
evidence, which means such relevant evidence to support a decision (Ang Tibay v.
The Court of Industrial Relations and National Labor Union, Inc., 69 Phil. 635) or
clear and convincing evidence. In this connection, it must be pointed out that the
strict rules of evidence are not applicable in claims for compensation. Respondents
however insist on evidence which would establish direct causal relation between the
disease rectal cancer and the employment of the deceased. Such a strict
requirement which even medical experts cannot support considering the
uncertainty of the nature of the disease would negate the principle of the liberality
in the matter of evidence, Apparently, what the law merely requires is a reasonable
work-connection and not a direct causal relation. This kind of interpretation gives
meaning and substance to the liberal and compassionate spirit of the law as
embodied in Article 4 of the new Labor Code which states that all doubts in the
implementation of the provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules and
regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor.

". . . As the agents charged by the law to implement the social justice guarantee
secured by both 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, respondents should adopt a more
liberal attitude in deciding claims for compensation especially when there is some
basis in the facts inferring a work-connection. This should not be confused with the
presumption of compensability and theory of aggravation under the Workmens
Compensation Act. While these doctrines may have been abandoned under the New
Labor Code (the constitutionality of such abrogation may still be challenged), it is
significant that the liberality of the law, in general, still subsists. . . ." (Emphasis
supplied)
The sweeping conclusion of the respondent Employees Compensation Commission
to the effect that the cause of the bronchogenic carcinoma of the deceased was due
to his being a smoker and not in any manner connected with his work as a soldier, is
not in accordance with medical authorities nor with the facts on record. No certitude
can arise from a position of uncertainty.
WE are dealing with possibilities and medical authorities have given credence to the
stand of the petitioner that her husband developed bronchogenic carcinoma while
working as a soldier with the Philippine Constabulary. The records show that when
the deceased enlisted with the Philippine Constabulary in 1969, he was found to be
physically and mentally healthy. A soldiers life is a hard one. As a soldier assigned
to field duty, exposure to the elements, dust and dirt, fatigue and lack of sleep and
rest is a common occurrence. Exposure to chemicals while handling ammunition
and firearms cannot be discounted. WE take note also of the fact that he became
the security of one Dr. Emilio Cordero of Anulung, Cagayan, and he always
accompanied the doctor wherever the latter went (p. 26, rec.). Such assignment
invariably involved irregular working hours, exposure to different working
conditions, and body fatigue, not to mention psychological stress and other similar
factors which influenced the evolution of his ailment.

*In compensation cases, strict rules of evidence are not applicable. A reasonable
work-connection is all that is required or that the risk of contracting the disease is
increased by the working conditions."cralaw virtua1aw library
This is in line with the avowed policy of the State as mandated by the Constitution
(Article II, Section 9) and restated in the new Labor Code (Article 4), to give
maximum aid and protection to labor.
wherefore, the decision appealed from is set aside and the government service
insurance system was ordered to give the petioner the benefits.
12. SONGCO, ET AL. VS. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

G.R. Nos. 50999-51000


(March 23, 1990)

FACTS:
*Zuelig filed an application for clearance to terminate the services of Songco, and
others, on the ground of retrenchment due to financial losses. During the hearing,
the parties agreed that the sole issue to be resolved was the basis of the separation
pay due. The salesmen received monthly salaries of at least P400.00 and
commission for every sale they made.
*The Collective Bargaining Agreements between Zuelig and the union of which
Songco, et al. were members contained the following provision: "Any employee
who is separated from employment due to old age, sickness, death or permanent
lay-off, not due to the fault of said employee, shall receive from the company a
retirement gratuity in an amount equivalent to one (1) month's salary per year of
service."
*The Labor Arbiter ordered Zuelig to pay Songco et al., separation pay equivalent to
their one month salary (exclusive of commissions, allowances, etc.) for every year
of service with the company.
*The National Labor Relations Commission sustained the Arbiter.

ISSUE: Whether or not earned sales commissions and allowances should be


included in the monthly salary of Songco, et al. for the purpose of computing their
separation pay.
RULING:
*In the computation of backwages and separation pay, account must be taken not
only of the basic salary of the employee, but also of the transportation and
emergency living allowances.
*Even if the commissions were in the form of incentives or encouragement, so that
the salesman would be inspired to put a little more industry on jobs particularly
assigned to them, still these commissions are direct remunerations for services
rendered which contributed to the increase of income of the employee. Commission
is the recompense compensation or reward of an agent, salesman, executor,
trustee, receiver, factor, broker or bailee, when the same is calculated as a
percentage on the amount of his transactions or on the profit to the principal. The
nature of the work of a salesman and the reason for such type of remuneration for

services rendered demonstrate that commissions are part of Songco, et al's wage or
salary.
*The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that some salesmen do not receive any
basic salary, but depend on commissions and allowances or commissions alone,
although an employer-employee relationships exists.
*If the opposite view is adopted, i.e., that commissions do not form part of the wage
or salary, then in effect, we will be saying that this kind of salesmen do not receive
any salary and, therefore, not entitled to separation pay in the event of discharge
from employment. This narrow interpretation is not in accord with the liberal spirit
of the labor laws, and considering the purpose of separation pay which is, to
alleviate the difficulties which confront a dismissed employee thrown to the streets
to face the harsh necessities of life.
*In Soriano vs. NLRC (155 SCRA 124), we held that the commissions also claimed by
the employee (override commission plus net deposit incentive) are not properly
includible in such base figure since such commissions must be earned by actual
market transactions attributable to the petitioner [salesman]. Since the
commissions in the present case were earned by actual transactions attributable to
Song, et al., these should be included in their separation pay. In the computation
thereof, what should be taken into account is the average commission earned
during their last year of employment.